Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki has promised to take bold steps in resolving all the administrative challenges militating against council workers especially on issues related to salary arrears owed them in the recent times.
The Governor disclosed this in his office in Benin when he received the Executive members of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), who paid him a solidarity visit at the Government House.
Addressing the delegation, Governor Obaseki expressed sympathy over unpaid salaries to council workers and assured them of the state government’s decision to take urgent constitutional measures to review issues of staffing and liabilities, which have adversely affected the management of council funds.
He also assured the union of his administration’s readiness to engage in dialogue with council authorities and other relevant stakeholders to address all industrial issues relating to staff emoluments noting his intention to stop sustaining local government councils with bailout.
Meanwhile, the governor admonished the union to always thread the path of peace and embrace industrial harmony, stressing that a harmonization bill had been sent to the Edo State House of Assembly for review and confirmation especially on issues of revenue generation and other economic matters that affect both the state and local governments.
On the issue of local government autonomy, Governor Obaseki explained that the position of the law is clear, but the state is empowered to assess the assets and liabilities of councils to foster monitoring transparency and accountability.
In a swift reaction, the State President of NULDGE, Edo State, Comrade Edward Young Ilenikhena congratulated the Governor on his victory in the polls and assured him of his union’s preparedness to partner and work with his government to enhance efficiency in local government administration.
The union boss highlighted some of their challenges which include unpaid salaries of staff ranging from 3 to 13 months by the immediate past administration, local government allocation figures, funding of primary education by local government instead of state and autonomy of local government among others.
He however, appealed to the state government to speed up steps and employ all necessary avenues to ensure that the acrimony between local government and the state government are resolved for the last time.